In the pioneer spirit, I thought I would share a little story about persistence and finding your niche, in whatever you do, whatever your motivation. I have always loved westerns, especially movies with John Wayne. So when I started writing it never occurred to me to set my stories anywhere else, whether I wrote historical or contemporary. After five years, and countless rejection letters, I sold my first manuscript. Even though I consider myself a Christian, I sold to the secular market without a qualm. At the time, I didn’t see a contradiction in my faith versus my career. For many, this never becomes a problem. Why would it be a problem for me?
That first sale brought lots of validation. All my hard work had finally paid off. I’d arrived. I was doing something important. I was God’s vessel.
I was woefully misleading myself.
Within months of that first book hitting the shelves I was released by my publisher, no explanation. Enter a very long, very frustrating dry spell. I rationalized why I couldn’t sell another book. It was everyone else’s fault, of course. Westerns were dead, the market was shrinking and, my favorite reason of all, the editors didn’t like people with the first name Renee.
Long story short, the pursuit of publishing my second novel to a traditional publishing house became an obsession. I secretly feared I was destined to be a one-book-wonder and, thus, held on too tight, forced things where I should have let go. I stayed true to the process. I wrote new stories. I submitted the manuscripts. I revised according to editor suggestions. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. I still received rejections, one right after another. What was a girl to do?
Not my shining hour. However, I did gain perspective. I focused on everything in my life that wasn’t writing related. I started working on my relationships with my family and began trusting God with the outcome of all my endeavors. I’d never done that before.
Around this same time, I had an AHA moment. What if the next story is the one that hits? I started writing again. But this time, I figured if I was going to collect rejections I might as well swing for the fences and stop playing it safe. I was going to write the book I wanted to read. The resulting book was my first attempt at writing Inspirational romance. I never thought I would do that, and I mean never. But by the time I wrote “the end” I’d found my home. Writing isn’t any easier than it was during that dry spell, but I go about putting stories together very differently. I’m just the quill and the Lord is the Great Author. This new approach brings me unspeakable peace (and joy!).
So what’s the point in all this? Whether you’re a writer or a reader or something in between, you should always…
Swing for the fences. Never play it safe. Don’t give your failures too much brain power or take your successes for granted. The rest will work itself out in time.
In a few weeks, my fourteenth novel, CLAIMING THE DOCTOR’S HEART, will be available in stores and online. In celebration, I’m giving away five copies. Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible for the drawing. Here’s more about the book:
After losing her high-powered job, Olivia Scott finds herself back home in Colorado. She never imagined she’d be taking care of kids, let alone being the nanny to longtime crush Dr. Connor Mitchell’s adorable twin girls. But what began as a favor to the handsome widower is growing into something more. Connor’s confused by his growing feelings for his best friend’s little sister. She’s become a beautiful woman with a caring soul, but he can’t risk his—or his girls’—heart. Olivia’s planning to head back to her city life. Unless this small-town doctor can convince her to stay…forever.